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tv   [untitled]    October 6, 2011 10:30am-11:00am PDT

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supervisor mirkarimi: good
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morning. welcome to the public safety committee of the san francisco board of supervisors. i am ross mirkarimi, the chair. to my left is david campos. supervisor cohen will be joining us shortly. thank you to sfgtv for their ongoing excellence. don and mark are covering this. please read the first item. >> item number one, ordinance amending the administrative code by adding section 2a.83 to community policing policy. supervisor mirkarimi: on the community policing initiative, supervisor campos, we very much appreciate, and i very much appreciate the collaboration we have had on this. supervisor campos: thank you very much, supervisor mirkarimi, mr. chair. i want to begin by thanking chief suhr for being here. i know it has been a busy day for him. i appreciate him taking the time to be here to discuss a very
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important issue. i also want to take the opportunity to thank my staff, specifically hillary for all the work that has gone into this, but most importantly to thank so many members of the community who have really been the catalyst for this effort. let me provide some context of what we introduced this legislation. i serve on the san francisco police commission for a number of years. by the way, i see that the assistant deputy chief is also here. i served for the police commission for a number of years. and one of the things that became very clear in my service as a police commissioner is that we talk a lot about community policing, but that community policing and different things to different people. and while that is in many respects understandable, the idea that community policing by
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definition has to reflect the specific needs of a community, and therefore there would be some differences, what i found frustrating is the fact that there was no threshold definition of what it meant to have meaningful community policing, and in the last few months, my office was approached by a number of residents in my district, it covers an eclectic group of people who expressed an interest in making sure that we, as a city, have not only definition, but we had a definition of community policing that truly, in a consistent way, impacted the operations of the police department. and this is something that required an extensive amount of work and numerous, numerous
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meetings were held to talk about what an ordinance that actually created a definition would look like. and let me say that the reason why an ordinance was something that we thought was important is that we know that there are personnel changes that happen in any agency by the police department, and while we are confident that the current chief values and cares deeply about community policing, wanted to have some big the was sustainable, and about who was in that position and codify the rules that govern the operation of the police department, something that defined community policing. in defining that term, the concept of community policing, we wanted to strike a balance between having certain elements that were consistent throughout the city, throughout the 10th district stations, but also
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providing the leverage and flexibility so that in the implementation of those elements, the captain and the police chief had the flexibility to make sure that however it was implemented, it reflected the specific characteristics and qualities of the neighborhood. and we believe that the ordinance before you has struck that right balance. in the last few months, besides the working group that we put together, we have also received pretty substantial input from the police department, from the police commission, and from the chief of police. and let me say that we find ourselves in this very interesting position, unlike anything that i have seen, since i was elected as supervisor, where we have been working on a definition of community policing. we have an ordinance that is before the board of supervisors, but the chief of police had actually already implemented
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with the ordinance calls for. and that is a testament to chief suhr, to his staff, and to his commitment to this concept. so i would like to get the cheap and opportunity, to him and his staff, to give us a brief update on what has happened at the police commission, at the police department, but i think it is truly, truly remarkable that he proceeded to craft it apartment general order that essentially responded to this -- that he crafted a general order that essentially responded to this legislation, and he did this even before the board of supervisors voted for it. i want to thank you, chief, for that commitment. i know members of my community who have been working on these matters are very appreciative, and i also appreciate the fact that not only did you do that, but you actually were a very inclusive in how you approached
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it, and the major that there was community input in the general order that was crafted and that there was transparency in terms of the amount of information that was provided to the public. with that, if it is ok with my colleagues, i would like to ask chief suhr to come forward. again, i want to thank chief suhr for doing something that has not really been done, at least in my experience, here in city hall. good morning to you. >> good morning. i appreciate your comments. and certainly, community policing is an absolute priority for the police department. i believe in it always has been. i know that in our discussions that it was not defined, if you will, or codified so that no matter who the chief of police is, it stands. to that end, we said about together to define community policing.
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the process was long. it was inclusive. it started off with a proposal. then it through committee, it grew. we met with virtually every corner of this city. suggestions were made. then we took it back to the location of the first community meeting, which was that cesar chavez school in michigan. and we believe that if we could pass muster at a community meeting in the mission as far as no contrarians, that we would be where we wanted to be, at least as commissioner dejesus said that night, as the first step. i know the copy i just passed out says final draft, but that is not true. this is now a general order in the san francisco police department. it fits in the first section of
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our policies and procedures as a governing, organizational structure and is now they're buying in late into every general order as we will do business going forward if we have not already been doing it. i really want to thank you for being there on it that wednesday in being heard. i think probably my highpoint of the evening was when that young women, probably in her late teens, early 20's, got up and claimed the line out of this general order as her own. she said i just want everybody to know, and i do not know which one it was, she read it, and she turned it around and said that is mine. i think with that, i know there are members here. i will not mention names, because i do not want to be disrespectful of somebody else. but the people behind me collaborated. i am sure people are watching on television that collaborated. we're very proud of this. and i want to thank everybody
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from your office that held down held that'shelped -- i want to thank everybody from your office that helped out. supervisor campos: my apologies, i ever got to a knowledge the sponsors. supervisor mirkarimi, supervisor cohen, supervisor mar, and supervisor avalos. it would not have happened without your willingness to work with us, chief. to your knowledge, how many departments in the country have community policing imbedded in their general orders? >> i believe that every department in the country strives to be a community police department, but i believe this is the first such policy and procedure which actually codify it. i know people in the past have said that it cannot be defined, but that does not appear to be the case. this is how we are defining it. supervisor campos: and i think
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that is very important to highlight. it is very historic that we are the first to codify it, and to do so in a way -- i think replacement of it as department general order 1.08 makes sure that it is something that really impacts the entirety of the operation. that is one question that i have, and i will turn it over to my colleagues that they have questions for you, chief. how does this affect what happens on the ground? how does this impact what happens in the 10 different district stations and how each captain approaches the concept of community policing and how they have to fulfill this mandate? >> so, if you will, as with all policies and procedures, now all supervisors, front sargent, a senior officers, however, if an officer is conducting themselves outside of how is prescribed in this general order, as with all general
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orders, then there would be training, retraining, further training, as far as if you are aware of this. this one that is called an a- bulletin or the officers have to sign up for it to a degree that they have got it and are now responsible for it into it. going forward now, as of last week, this is the way that we will have our officers' conduct themselves. supervisor campos: great, thank you, chief. that is all on my end. i do not know if you have anything else to add or if my colleagues have questions. supervisor cohen: anybody in the public that is interested in this, i believe it is already online. if not, i am committed to getting it online by the end of the week. it is a public document that anybody is welcome to look at, inspect, and hopefully celebrate the way we do. supervisor mirkarimi: i would
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like to commend your leadership and the department's leadership in partnering with supervisor campos in making this happen. before supervisor campos was elected but was a police commissioner, we had joint meetings before you were chief, chief suhr. we had a joint meeting between this committee in the police commission to talk about a 2007 study that the city controller commission on community policing and foot patrols. it was a thorough study, the first of its kind, that the city had never undertaken. there seemed to be a great desire and demand that, at least as the future of community policing, people really do love foot patrols. yet, the conclusion is that, from the police department, at least back then, that is a luxury that the department cannot afford. and that brought up other
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questions in that conversation and has hands. that is, how do you budget for this level of commitment, when the department's budget is about $480 or so this coming year, how do you then it sort of us in those fiscal resources in staffing resources to make sure that community policing is more than just a paper target? >> as i said, if this is as intended, it covers everything, the officer to be engaged as prescribed in this order. i appreciate foot patrols, and they are actually in this order. if you look on page 3, the assignment of steady peace in sectors on a daily basis, regular attendance of beat officers at community meetings in their assigned areas and at regular staffing as it is allowed. there are going to be instances
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where there are other priorities that may take away from a foot beat. but foot beats are a priority for us. we know they are particularly special to those commercial corridors that have them. there something that are specific to commercial and transit corridors. i know that neighborhoods have asked for foot beats that were too big of a place and that is just not how they are used. but to that end, i know is a deterrent on transit lines. i know that i work closely with supervisor cohen, making sure that our sure streetbeat are a priority and our staff -- to make sure that our third thatbeat are staffed. we may need to borrow from each other from day to day to make sure things work. but they are a priority. it is not take a day or two for
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a neighborhood that enjoys a foot beat, when they notice it is not around, to make enough to the captain, i want my foot beat back. it is not lost on the captain or myself. supervisor mirkarimi: how do you sort of help enforce that level on continuity? you do have a rotational captain system. sometimes captains are yanked in the middle of the night from 10 different stations, and then the relationships that had been created by the community in that particular captain, they could have found a real winner. no, where it is just a win-win for the community and district station. the person they are replaced with is not like their predecessors. it is almost as if the switch has been reset. how do you ensure that level of continuity when that leadership
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chainge occurs with in the district's system? >> i am believe the captain's need to be where they are released 10 years, because it takes at least a year to get to know your community, another year to make the station your own, and then another year if you need to make any adjustments. to that end, the captains that i have it stations, when they move, it will be for retirement or promotion going forward. that has usually been the case overtime anyway. an order like this though, and continuity, we have got a lot of turnover at the top in the police department over the last four to five years. to that end, some sort of stability over time will get that. plus, i think that this body, and this is why it was important
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to me, this is the first chance i have had to come to the public safety committee, and i appreciate the opportunity. i think we need to hold our feet to the fire with regard to this general order going forward, and we will be here every time to answer any questions or concerns. supervisor cohen: do not worry, we will hold your feet to the fire. >> i remember that from before with you. supervisor campos: just to give you some ideas, as i am reading this department general order as a department general order, and that is the reason we wanted to codify it, remember that we're talking about a paramilitary organization, and their specific rules and guidelines. but a general order is exactly that, a general order that has to be followed and complied with by all the offices. i really think that it is important to highlight some of the key things that are required.
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interaction with youth, their specific expectations in terms of how every member of that department interacts with young people in the city and county of san francisco. if i am is a police officer and want to be in compliance with the spirit and the letter of this general order, i would be thinking about how my actions as a member of the department essentially followed this tenet of that interaction with young people. communication with the community, one of the things that i have seen as captains have rotated in and out of different stations is that some are better than others at providing crime data to their district station. now, once this goes into affect, if you are a captain in any station, you have to have a plan for compliance. you have to know that, you know,
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providing crime data or communicating with all members of that community is not something that is desirable, which is how it has been treated in the past, but it is actually required. so you actually have to have a plan, a strategy in place to make that happen. as a district captain, you have to think about how it is that you're going to provide training to your officers to comply with the tenets you have to understand with the community you're serving. so you are forced to do that, and it is not just seen as a good idea. it is a requirement that you provide that training institute or training plan. on the assignment of beats, it is not just that it requires that beats be created, but there has to be an assignment of offices so that there's a steady presence. some of the officers out of a beat, you have to think twice
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about how you do that, because you want to give the officers or walking a beat enough time to get to know the community and really understand the community. so you have to think about staffing in that way. it is not just a good idea. now it is required. i think there are many things here that have the potential to really impact how the leadership of the different stations think about their day-to-day, and i think that if done properly, especially the training park, then i think it's also a trickle down to the entire police department. i think it is very powerful, but again, a general order, but again, the devil is in the detail of the implementation. i think that is where we need to continue to monitor this, to make sure that is implemented not only in compliance with the letter but also with the spirit of the details. >> i agree.
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i think it would be remiss to say that there are in notion of sentences the police officers, and actually officers all around the state and country, that conduct themselves exactly like this. supervisor campos: yes. >> and for them, this is not a change for how they would do day-to-day business. there are other officers who may be less engaging or less precarious than some other officers, and this is going to have to make them try and find their chi, if you will, to raise the bar. supervisor campos: thank you, chief. supervisor mirkarimi: let's see if there is any more chi. thank you, chief. supervisor campos: if we can open it up to public comment, i see david, who is ready to speak, and he has been very engaged and involved not only in the drafting of this
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ordinance and working with chief suhr and the police department, but quite frankly, he has been involved in his neighborhood, his community, for many years. community policing as a two-way street. it is not just about what the police department does, but it is also about what the community does. i think if there is an example of what you want to see members of the community do on these issues, david is that example. >> wow, thank you. first of all, i want to just say that we should congratulate ourselves. i mean, this was so much easier than we thought it would be, and everything is going great. we should celebrate. at the beginning of the year, we had a chief who was saying we're already doing community policing and there's no reason to define it. and now, you know, we went out and started to talk to people, and we found out that people do have a definition and the
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collaborative process we undertook with a very diverse group, people are nodding and agreeing, and that is very good in a group. even more important, when the general order was put out in the mission, there was a room with cops in it and a couple hundred people from the community and everybody was smiling and nodding. i mean, that is amazing. that is really amazing. we should give a big whoo-hoo to that. the thing i want to say is a definition is great, and this general order is really amazing. i do not really know how police work, but i assume that is going to be very effective. i think, going forward, the public is going to need to know what this means. and to the people who, in your force, who exemplify this, like community policing is, i would community policing is, i would like to see them acknowledged


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